VICTORIA - The Government of B.C. is announcing a significant change to the income and disability assistance program that will help single parents secure a meaningful job by allowing them to stay on assistance for up to 12 months while they train for their new job.
Government’s $24.5-million investment over five years helps ensure all British Columbians have an opportunity to benefit from B.C.’s strong and growing economy and transition into the workforce with skills and training that align with today’s labour market demands.
This major program change recognizes how challenging it can be as a single parent, especially when transitioning into the workforce. Under the new Single Parent Employment Initiative, more than 16,000 single parents on income and disability assistance will also have access to a range of supports that will help break down the barriers they often face when trying to find a full-time job, including:
- Tuition and education costs for approved training programs that last up to 12 months for in-demand jobs.
- Transportation costs to and from school.
- Full child-care costs during training.
Upon completion of their training, single parents who are eligible for a child-care subsidy will continue to have their full child-care costs covered for one year after they leave school and enter the workforce. They will also retain their health supplement coverage for a year after they leave income assistance. This includes dental, optical and premium-free Ministry of Health Medical Services Plan and Pharmacare programs.
The Single Parent Employment Initiative, which will launch in September 2015, supports B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, which is re-engineering the Province’s education and training systems to ensure students have a full range of training options.
This builds on yesterday’s announcement that supports all parents on income assistance who want to pursue employment and move towards economic independence. The government doubled earning exemptions from $200 to $400 per month for all families with children, and increased them from $300 to $500 per month for families who have a child with disabilities.
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation-
“Single parents on income assistance who are ready to find employment often face obstacles that most of us don’t experience: Paying for day care before your first paycheck arrives, buying supplies or a bus pass, even registration costs for school.”
“We don’t all start from the same place in life. Sometimes people need a little extra support. The wrap around supports we are making available will help parents on income assistance overcome many of the barriers that can hold them back as they move towards independence.”
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development -
“Poverty − in and of itself − is limiting. It limits choice. It limits opportunities. That's why income assistance is by design short-term help. For many single parents though, finding that family supporting job first requires the ability to access training. We are making changes that will enable that to happen.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour -
“The Skills for Jobs Blueprint is changing the way we think about skills training and ensuring that British Columbians are first in line for jobs in our province. That is why we’re providing single parents the opportunity to access training programs with the necessary supports in place. Our greatest competitive advantage is a highly skilled workforce and with the Blueprint and programs like this we can meet the labour demands of our diverse and growing economy.”
Janet Austin, CEO, YWCA Metro Vancouver -
“YWCA Metro Vancouver provides a range of holistic services to help single mothers achieve economic independence, and helping women to find meaningful employment is a critical part of our mission. Opportunities for paid training, along with the additional supports, such as child care and transportation, remove many of the common barriers faced by single mothers who are trying to develop skills and find sustainable employment. These new supports are a gateway to a brighter future, and will undoubtedly be welcome relief to all the single parents who are trying to create better lives for themselves and their families.”
Emi Yumura, single mother living in Surrey -
“When I was in school I wanted to concentrate on my studies, but spent more time worrying about bills, child care and additional costs of getting an education. Getting transportation and medical costs covered, along with child care, will help so many single parents build the future they deserve and dream of.”
Norma Strachan, CEO, Association of Service Providers for Employability and Career Training (ASPECT) −
“Members of ASPECT deliver career training programs that help people pursue new opportunities in life. From tuition costs to child care, the comprehensive package of supports the Province introduced today will help break down the barriers that can get in the way of a single parent when they want to leave income assistance. The Province has made significant investments into skills training over the last few years. This will help widen the circle of opportunity by giving single parents on income assistance the supports they need to be successful and secure employment.”
- Currently, there are 16,000 single parent families with 26,000 children that are on income and disability assistance in B.C.
- For people just on income assistance, when you include children, single parent families represent 44% of all recipients
- On average, 90% of single parents on income and disability assistance are female.
- Children who grow up in an income assistance family are at greater risk of living in low income. Research suggests they may be three or more times more likely to become dependent on income assistance as an adult compared to children with no or limited exposure to income assistance.
- There are 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout B.C.
- B.C.s Skills for Jobs Blueprint was launched in April 2014 and outlines how the Province is re-engineering the education system - from kindergarten through to post-secondary training and beyond - to make sure education and training aligns with B.C. jobs.
- By 2022, there will be one million job openings in B.C. - more than 78% of jobs will require some form of post-secondary education, and 44% of jobs will be in skilled trades and technical occupations.
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills
B.C.’s 2022 Labour Market Outlook: http://ow.ly/DOw6R
To find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre:
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation
Significant changes announced to support single parents on assistance
On Sept. 1, 2015, the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation will launch the Single Parent Employment Initiative to help single parents receiving income and disability assistance get the training they need to secure an in-demand job.
Single parents will be referred to WorkBC Centres in their area, where they will have access to a comprehensive suite of supports and services aimed at removing barriers to employment, including:
- Tuition and education costs in an approved training program of up to 12 months.
- Fully covered child-care costs during training. Single parents who are eligible for a child-care subsidy will continue to have their full child-care costs covered for their first 12 months on the job.
- Financial assistance for transportation costs during training.
- Dental, optical, Medical Services Plan and Pharmacare costs covered during training and for first 12 months on the job.
- Participants will also be able to remain on income assistance for up to 12 months while they are in school.
- When they find a job they will also qualify for financial supports through WorkBC that include essential work supplies, tools, equipment or clothing.
- Employment-related disability supports.
Employment Program of BC:
The Employment Program of BC (EPBC) launched on April 2, 2012. The purpose of the program is to support unemployed British Columbians in achieving sustainable employment as quickly as possible through an integrated system of employment services and supports.
- There are 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout B.C., operated by 47 contractors who work with more than 300 service providers that deliver the Employment Program of BC (EPBC).
- Since EPBC launched in 2012, approximately 185,000 people have been helped with supports and services.
- Currently, approximately 76,000 clients are actively receiving services through EPBC.
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation